Iraqi Parliament Receives Draft Constitution

Just minutes before their midnight deadline, the Iraqi parliament got their draft version of the constitution.

"The Shiites and the Kurds have reached more or less a concensus about the role of Islam and the role of federalism all together," said UW-Eau Claire Political Science Professor Ali Abootalebi.

It's because they're living in a land of plenty, the oil-rich areas of Iraq, so it's easy for them to promise oil revenue to the masses.

Sunni Arabs, meanwhile, don't want to see that federalism talk in the final constitution.

"I think having it in the constitution in the long term makes sense-it's the basic law of the land."

"The Sunnis are afraid that any sort of federalism may lead to more autonomous behavior-leaving the Sunnis from the fruits of federalism, that is, all the revenue."

The Kurds and Shiites have the power in Iraq's parliament to approve a constitution without the Sunnis' say-so, but that kind of approval opens the floodgates for a Sunni backlash.

"I think eventually the Sunnis will have to come on board."

Or face political instability, civil war, even the three-way separation of Iraq.

If all three groups end up backing a constitution, experts say the chances are much better for economic and social improvements.

"I think one can remain cautiously optimistic that it's going to work out for the better."

"It is a major milestone for any angle you want to look at it."

One that parliament leaders hope to celebrate after three more days of negotiation.


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